« PreviousContinue »
there was in that wherewith our Saviour stopped the mouth of the Pharisees,-namely, how Christ could be the son of David, and yet his Lord, whom he worshipped. For the places of Scripture in particular urged by Mr B., (such as] John xiv. 28, says our Saviour,
My Father is greater than I” (mittens misso, says Grotius himself, referring the words to office, not nature), which he was and is in respect of that work of mediation which he had undertaken; but “ inæqualitas officii non tollit æqualitatem naturæ.” A king's son “ ' is of the same nature with his father, though he may be employed by him in an inferior office. He that was less than his Father as to the work of mediation, being the Father's servant therein, is equal to him as his Son, as God to be blessed for ever. Mark xiii. 32, Matt. xxiv. 36, affirm that the Father only knows the times and seasons mentioned, not the angels, nor the Son; and yet, notwithstanding, it was very truly said of Peter to Christ, “Lord, thou knowest all things,” John xxi. 17. He that in and of the knowledge and wisdom which as man he had, and wherein he grew from his infancy, knew not that day, yet as he knew all things knew it; it was not hidden from him, being the day by him appointed. Let. Mr B. acknowledge that his knowing all things proves him to be God, and we will not deny but his not knowing the day of judgment proves him to have another capacity, and to be truly man.
As man he took on him those affections which we call φυσικά και údiácanta ráðn, amongst which, or consequently unto which, he might be ignorant of some things. In the meantime, he who made all
" things, as Christ did, Heb. i. 2, knew their end as well as their beginning. He knew the Father, and the day by him appointed; yea, all things that the Father hath were his, and “ in him were hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” Col. ii. 3.
Paul speaks to the same purpose, 1 Cor. xv. 24, 28. The kingdom that Christ doth now peculiarly exercise is his economical mediatory kingdom; which shall have an end put to it when the whole of his intendment in that work shall be fulfilled and accomplished. But that he is not also sharer with his Father in that uni. versal monarchy which, as God by nature, he hath over all, this doth not at all prove. All the argument from this place is but this : “ Christ shall cease to be mediator; therefore he is not God.” And that no more is here intended is evident from the expression of it, “ Then shall the Son himself be subject;" which if it intend any
1 “Ideo autem nusquam Scriptum est, quod Deus Pater major sit Spiritu Sancto, vel Spiritus Sanctus minor Deo Patre; quia non sic assumpta est creatura in qua appare. ret S. S. sicut assumptus est filius hominis, in qua forma ipsius Verbi Dei persona præsentaretur."-August. lib. i. de Trinit. cap. vi.
2 Αυτός έστιν ο είς και μόνος υιός, και πριν ή Αβραάμ γενέσθαι ών και επι εσχάτων, προκόψας σοφία και ηλικία κατά σάρκα έχει γαρ αεί θεότης αυτού το τέλειον.-Proclus. Episcop. Constan. Ep. ad Armenios.
thing but the ceasing from the administration of the mediatory kingdom, wherein the human nature is a sharer, it would prove that, as Jesus Christ is mediator, he is not in subjection to his Father, which himself abundantly hath manifested to be otherwise. Of 1 Cor. xi. 3, and iii. 22, 23, there is the same reason, both speaking of Christ as mediator; whence that no testimony can be produced against his deity hath been declared.
He adds, 12th, “Q. Howbeit, is not Christ dignified, as with the title of Lord, so also with that of God, in the Scripture?-A. (John xx. 28,] Thomas said, "My Lord and my God.” Verily, if Thomas said that Christ was his God, and said true, Mr B. is to blame who denies him to be God at all. With this one blast of the Spirit of the Lord is his fine fabric of religion blown to the ground. And it may be supposed that Mr B. made mention of this portion of Scripture that he might have the honour of cutting his own throat and destroying his own cause; or rather, that God, in his righteous judgment, hath forced him to open his mouth to his own shame. Whatever be the cause of it, Mr B. is very far from escaping this sword of the Lord, either by his insinuation in the present query, or diversion in the following. For the present, it was not the intent of Thomas to dignify Christ with titles, but to make a plain confession of his faith, being called upon by Christ to believe. In this state he professes that he believes him to be his Lord and his God. Thomas doubtless was a Christian ; and Mr B. tells us that Christians have but one God, chap. i. ques. 1, Eph. iv. 6. Jesus Christ, then, being the God
i of Thomas, he is the Christians' one God, if Mr B. may be believed. It is not, then, the dignifying of Christ with titles (which it is not for men to do), but the naked confession of a believer's faith, that in these words is expressed. Christ is the Lord and God of a believer ; ergo the only true God, as 1 John v. 20. Mr B. perhaps will tell you he was made a God; so one abomination begets another,-infidelity idolatry ;-of this afterward. But yet he was not, according to his companions, made a God before his ascension, which was not yet when Thomas made his solemn confession. Some attempt also is made upon this place by Grotius. Kai • @sós
ο Θεός “Here first," saith he, “in the story of the gospel, is this word found ascribed by the apostle unto Jesus Christ" (which Maldonate before him observed for another purpose),“to wit, after he had by his resurrection proved himself to be him from whoin life, and that eternal, ought to be expected. And this custom abode in the church, as appears not only in the apostolical writings, Rom. ix. 5, and of the ancient Christians, as may be seen in Justin Martyr against Trypho, but in the Epistle also of Pliny unto Trajan, where he says that the Christians sang verses to Christ as to God;" or, as the
1“ Hic primum ea vox in narratione Evangelica reperitur ab Apostolis Jesu tributa,
words are in the author, “ Carmen Christo, quasi Deo, dicere secum invicem.” What the intendment of this discourse is is evident to all those who are a little exercised in the writings of them whom our author all along in his Annotations takes care of. That Christ was now made a God at his resurrection, and is so called from the power wherewith he was intrusted at his ascension, is the aim of this discourse. Hence be tells us it became a “ custom” to call him God among the Christians, which also abode amongst them; and to prove this “custom” he wrests that of the apostle, Rom. ix. 5, where the deity of Christ is spoken of, in opposition to his human nature or his flesh, that he had of the Jews, plainly asserting a divine nature in him, calling him God subjectively, and not only by way of attribution. But this is, it seems, a "custom,” taken up after Christ's resurrection, to call him God, and so continued; though John testifies expressly that he was God in the beginning. It is true, indeed, much is not to be urged from the expressions of the apostles before the pouring out of the Spirit upon them, as to any eminent acquaintance with spiritual things; yet they had before made this solemn confession that Christ was the “Son of the living God,” Matt. xvi. 16-18, which is to the full as much as what is here by Thomas expressed. That the primitive Christians worshipped Christ and invocated him not only as a god, but professing him to be “the true God and eternal life," we have better testimonies than that of a blind Pagan, who knew nothing of them nor their ways, but by the report of apostates, as himself confesseth. But learned men must have leave to make known their readings and observations, whatever become of the simplicity of the Scripture.
To escape the dint of this sword, Mr B. nextly queries: “Q. Was he so the God of Thomas as that he himself in the meantime did not acknowledge another to be his God ?-A. John xx. 17; Rev. iii. 12.”
True, he who, being partaker of the divine essence, in the form of God, was Thomas' God, as he was mediator, the head of his church, interceding for them, acknowledged his Father to be his God; yea, God may be said to be his God upon the account of his sonship and personality, in which regard he hath his deity of his Father, and is “God of God.” Not that he is a secondary, lesser, made god, a hero, semideus, as Mr B. fancies him, but “God blessed for ever,” in order of subsistence depending on the Father.
Of the same nature is the last question, namely, “Have you any passage in the Scripture where Christ, at the same time that he postquam scilicet sua resurrectione probaverat, se esse a quo vita et quidem æterna exspectari deberet, Vide supra, xi. 25. Mansit deinde ille mos in ecclesia, ut apparet non tantum in scriptis Apostolicis ut, Rom. ix. 5, et veterum Christianorum, ut videre est apud Justinum Martyrem contra Tryphonem, sed et in Plinii ad Trajanum Epistola, ubi ait Christianos Christo, ut Deo, carmina cecinisse."--Grot. in loc.
hath the appellation of God given to him, is said to have a God ?A. Heb. i. 8, 9."
By Mr B.'s favour, Christ is not said to have a God, though God be said to be his God. Verse 8, Christ, by Mr B.'s confession, is expressly called God. He is, then, the one true God with the Father, or another. If the first, what doth he contend about? If the second, he is a god that is not God by nature,—that is, not the one God of Christians,--and consequently an idol; and indeed such is the Christ that Mr B. worshippeth. Whether this will be waived by the help of that expression, verse 9, “God, thy God," where it is expressly spoken of him in respect of his undertaking the office of mediation, wherein he was “anointed of God with the oil of gladness above his fellows,” God and his saints will judge.
Thus the close of this chapter, through the good, wise hand of the providence of God, leaving himself and his truth not without witness, hath produced instances and evidences of the truth opposed abundantly sufficient, without farther inquiry and labour, to discover the sophistry and vanity of all Mr B.'s former queries and insinuations; for which let him have the praise.
An entrance into the examination of the Racovian Catechism in the business of
the deity of Christ—Their arguments against it answered ; and testimonies of the eternity of Christ vindicated.
III. ALTHOUGH the testimonies and arguments for the deity of Christ might be urged and handled to a better advantage, if liberty might be used to insist upon them in the method that seems most natural for the clearing and confirmation of this important truth, yet that I may do two works at once, I shall insist chiefly, if not only, on those texts of Scripture which are proposed to be handled and answered by the author or authors of the Racovian Catechism; which work takes up near one-fourth part of their book, and, as it is well known, there is no part of it wherein so much diligence, pains, sophistry, and cunning are employed as in that chapter, “Of the person of Christ,” which by God's assistance we are entering upon the consideration of.
Those who have considered their writings know that the very substance of all they have to say for the evading of the force of our testimonies for the eternal deity of Christ is comprised in that chapter, there being not any thing material that any of them have elsewhere written there omitted. And those who are acquainted with them, their persons and abilities, do also know that their great strength and ability for disputation lies in giving plausible answers,
and making exceptions against testimonies, cavilling at every word and letter; being in proof and argument for the most part weak and contemptible. And therefore, in this long chapter, of near a hundred pages, all that themselves propose by way of argument against the deity of Christ is contained in two or three at the most, the residue being wholly taken up with exceptions to so many of the texts of Scripture wherein the deity of Christ is asserted as they have been pleased to take notice of,—a course which themselves are forced to apologize for as unbecoming catechists."
I shall, then, the Lord assisting, consider that whole chapter of theirs in both parts of it,-as to what they have to say for themselves, or to plead against the deity of Christ, as also what they bring forth for their defence against the evidence of the light that shineth from the texts whose consideration they propose to themselves, to which many of like sort may be added.
I shall only inform the reader that this is a business quite beyond my first intention in this treatise, to whose undertaking I have been prevailed on by the desires and entreaties of some who knew that I had this other work imposed on me.
Their first question and answer are :
Ans. Thou must know that of the things of which thou oughtest to know, some belong to the essence of Christ and some to his office.
Q. What are they which relate to his person?
A. That only that by nature he is a true man, even as the Scriptures do often witness, amongst others, 1 Tim. ii. 5, 1 Cor. xv. 21; such a one as God of old promised by the prophets, and such as the creed, commonly called the Apostles', witnesseth him to be; which, with us, all Christians embrace,
Ans. That Jesus Christ was a true man, in his nature like unto us, sin only excepted, we believe, and do abhor the abominations of Paracelsus, Wigelius, etc., and the Familists amongst ourselves, who destroy the verity of his human nature. But that the Socinians believe the same, that he is a man in heaven, whatever he was upon earth, I presume the reader will judge that it may be justly questioned, from what I have to offer (and shall do it in its place) on that account. But that this is all that we ought to know concerning the person of Christ is a thing of whose folly and vanity our catechists will be one day convinced. The present trial of it between us depends in part on the consideration of the scriptures
· Interpres Lect. Prefat. ad Cat. Rac. 9 * Rogatum te velim, ut mihi ca de Jesu Christo exponas, quæ me scire oporteat ? - Sciendum tibi est, quædam ad essentiam Jesu Christi, quædam ad illius munus referri, quæ te scire oportet.
'Quænam ea sunt quæ ad personam ipsius referuntur ?-Id solum, quod natura sit homo verus, quemadmodum ea de re crebro Seripturæ sacræ testantur, inter alias, 1 Tim. ii. 5, et 1 Cor. xv. 21 ; qualem olim Deus per prophetas promiserat, et qualem etiam esse testatur fidei symbolum, quod vulgo Apostolicum vocant, quod nobiscum universi Christiani amplectuntur.”